General Question

Grisaille's avatar

What are some ways of learning to sing and play an instrument at the same time?

Asked by Grisaille (12025points) May 26th, 2009

I’ve played guitar about 5–6 years, self taught.

I know the most obvious question would be, “Keep practicing!” but I have been, and I can’t maintain steady rhythm and sing at the same time (forget finger-picking, or attempting to do anything technical!).

I can play and sing to a few very basic songs (Creep – Radiohead… barely), yet for songs that require a bit of an off-tempo (Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice) approach, I fail miserably.

I think the proper question would be: What types of tricks or thought processes do you use when tackling a new song?

For example, when I was first learning sweep picking, I imagined just that – sweeping the pick across the strings, one at a time til I built up speed and control of my left-hand roll. Do you use any of these “tricks” when teaching yourself how to sing and play (pianists, too!)

I can’t jump over that hurdle of doing two things at the same time, and I can’t stand it :(

Any help would be much appreciated.

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9 Answers

prasad's avatar

I guess, concentrate on the instrument. When I played tunes/songs on the keyboard piano, songs came to mouth easily, as I remembered that song very well.

I dunno, but you can try practicing two separately, and after you feel comfortable with each, try both at a time.

Grisaille's avatar

That’s the thing. I can do both.

I can sing (to the best of my ability, of course) and know all of the words. I can play the song perfectly on guitar.

It’s combining the two that screws me up.

prasad's avatar

I think we can concentrate on only one thing at a time. So, if the other thing gets very well used to with, or our body should remember the other thing, then the first one can be looked into.

This is no help, I know, but Leonardo da Vinci used to write with both hands simulateneously. May be, you can pick something from that.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m going to assume that you are using sheets or a book with the chord changes clearly marked? If not, that would help enormously.

A second option you could experiment with since it doesn’t require concentrating on finger placement for each chord so you can just concentrate on the singing and tempo. As a matter of fact, that’s what lead to my eventually learning guitar. The school where I was teaching at the time had one just sitting around unused so after seeing a demonstration at a teacher’s conference I decided to give it a try. Autoharps are a snap to pick up and if you have any connections with a school music Dept chances are there is one sitting around. If you can borrow it for awhile that will give you a chance to see if it’s for you before buying one.

They aren’t exactly in fashion currently but so what? Give one a try and you may find you like it.

pikipupiba's avatar

Use the method i use for playing with both hands on the piano.

Learn both seperate.
When you put them together, dont think about it. Your body knows them both. Dont mess it up by thinking.
You will lose it. Just keep practicing both steps.

Buttonstc's avatar

Sorry about the fractured sentence structure.
I have got to stop using this iPhone rather than my
computer before everyone
thinks I’m a total idiot. There
just isn’t any way to read ones
entire post through to edit it
since you can only read five
lines at a time in the little
yellow composing box becaus
it won’t scroll up and down as
it does on computer

Obviously I meant to say try an Autoharp in the beginning.

Apologies to all. This iPhone App really sucks.

The site itself and the people are great but whoever designed the App needs to go back to App school or something. :)

Kayak8's avatar

1. Just play the dang guitar. Just focus on that.

2. Now start humming along with it (no words), just noise coming out your mouth at the same time as you are playing.

3. Now change the humming to a sound with your mouth actually open (like “ooooo”).

4. Now get the cadence of the “oooo’s” to go along with the cadence of the music.

5. You will find yourself slipping in words here and there.

6. Now add words and use “ooo” on the ones where you are throwing yourself off the rhythm.

7. Now just keep adding words.

jfos's avatar

I think the best way is to not worry about the strumming pattern at first. Just play the right chords/positions/etc., and sing it normally. As you become more comfortable doing both at once, focus more on strumming the right pattern.

Strauss's avatar

Learning them separately has always worked for me, either with guitar/singing or with two-hands on piano.

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